When you choose to transplant a red cedar tree in South Carolina, according to a study done by Roland E. Schoenike, the tree should be planted in clay loam, which is the type of soil the red cedar normally grows in. Choosing a spot with this type of soil gives the tree a better chance of survival and allows for better foliage. Trees should be placed at least 5 feet apart.
Dig the seedling tree out of the ground at its current location by digging around the perimeter of the crown. Depending on the age of the seedling, you might have to dig a couple of feet to get most of the root ball.
Wrap the root ball in burlap, then wet the burlap to keep the roots from drying out. Dig a planting hole three times as wide as the root ball and as deep as the root ball. The planting hole is the same if you are transplanting a potted red cedar.
Scarify the sides of the planting hole with the pitchfork. Fill the planting hole with water, then center the red cedar in the planting hole. Backfill the hole with soil.
Water the red cedar with at least an inch of water. Mulch with about an inch of compost or pulverized bark. As the tree grows over the years, add more mulch--up to 3 inches.
Stake the tree if you live in an area that is prone to high winds. When staking the tree, use ties that can move and grow with the tree (ribbons, rope or other materials that can be retied to match the growth of the tree).
Water the tree with at least an inch of water every week, until the tree becomes established (about a year). After the first year, water the tree in times of drought. Fertilize the red cedar once every three years only if a soil test shows missing nutrients.